1/30/13

What have I been up to?

Not making many cards, that's for certain. I have some new dies and stamps I want to break in, but I've been busy making pretty envelopes from patterned paper, stamping and coloring postcards, and writing letters. My letter writing is about to get a lot more frequent. See that great big badge on the right side --------------------------->
the one that says A Month of Letters Participant? Yep, I am writing a letter a day in February. I may write more, but not less, that's the challenge.


I started writing letters again a few months ago and I am enjoying it immensely. It makes my day when I get a handwritten letter in the mail among all of the junk mail and bills. To think that someone took time to sit down with pen and paper, and put their thoughts in writing just for me is a wonderful feeling. I don't know what I enjoy more - reading my incoming mail or writing replies. I have always had a passion for pens and paper, and stamping somewhat satisfied that, but there's nothing like letter writing (don't fret, I am not giving up stamping!). Email is good for transmitting quick bits of information, as is Facebook, Twitter, etc., but a letter is better.

What I find mildly amusing about it all is that people will ask, "How long have you been writing letters?", when in the not-too-distant past that was one of the primary forms of communication, right up there with the telephone. I didn't realize how much I missed it. In high school I had several pen pals, including one from Malaysia. I think I may still have some of his letters stashed away in my keepsake box.

Stationery is a rare find, so I make some of my own and I have found bits and pieces here and there. Pens are in no short supply, thank goodness! JetPens.com is one of my favorite haunts nowadays. They have almost any kind of writing instrument one could want...and I am good at wanting. I have a couple of fountain pens and I love the feel of them in my hand and the smoothness of the ink gliding across the paper. I have added a page to this blog for pen and paper reviews and such, and hope to add some information there in the near future.

I have enjoyed making my own custom envelopes, too. For the first couple of times I took apart an envelope and just used it as a template, but I found it is so easy to make almost any size you need, as long as you have a large enough sheet of paper. If anyone is interested I would be glad to post instructions. It is a good way to use up some of that why-did-I-buy-this patterned paper in your stash! We R Memory Keepers has just introduced their new Envelope Punch Board,  which will be available in a stamp store near you soon. From what I've seen it makes creating envelopes a snap!

So, if any of you dear blog readers out there are interested in finding pen pals I have a couple of links for you:

A Month of Letters
Sendsomething.net
Make Every Day a Good Mail Day
Postcrossing
The Missive Maven

From these links you can certainly find a pen pal or two. Or 10! Dust off those pens, find some pretty paper, and write a letter soon. You probably already know several people that would love to hear from you.

1/4/13

Tonic Studios – CHA Winter Sneak Peek

Here is a little peek at what Tonic will be releasing at CHA next week. These great dies and tools will be arriving in stores this April! We can’t wait to show you the Floral Delights, Pick of the Bunch, and Simplicity Dies (to coordinate with the fabulous Simplicity Punches)!

Stop back over the next few weeks for oodles of inspiration featuring these fun new products! Thanks for stopping by and for supporting Tonic Studios!

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1/1/13

Happy New Year!

Out with the old and in with the new, right? 2012 was not the best of years for us, but things did improve a bit. We hope that 2013 will be even better, for us and for you, too. No looking back, just moving forward – bigger and better things await.

Do you do New Year Resolutions? Do you keep them if you do? I will gladly admit to making them almost every year, but not being so good at keeping them. The truth is, will all of the talk about a new year being a fresh start, etc., we are offered a fresh start each day… each moment, even. At any given moment we can choose to change our life, start a new adventure, make better choices all the way around – not just on New Years Day. But, since this is a brand new year we may as well go with it. I do have a couple of resolutions I will share with you – but please don’t feel compelled to hold me to them.

1. I’ve always loved photography and I have a pretty good digital camera now, so my plan is to take better photos, learn to take full advantage of all the cool features it has, and also to expand my knowledge of Photoshop – to be able to correct those less-than-perfect photos.

2. Copic markers are my favorite tool for coloring my stamped images and I plan to refine and improve my Copic coloring skills this year. I made myself a coloring journal to record color combinations that I like, as well as to practice shading and blending. I think it will ultimately be a good reference. There are so many good Copic blogs and videos from which to learn, all it takes is persistence and practice. I will post a list of my favorites at the bottom of this post.

3. I promise to be a better blog commenter this year. I subscribe to a lot of blogs, see so many beautiful creations, but yet I hesitate to comment very often. I know how good it feels to get comments, even if they are nothing more than “Very pretty!”, it just feels good to know that someone has enjoyed seeing something here. I think I said this last year, too, but fell short of my goal. I will do my best not to let that happen this year.

That’s all I have to share for now. I won’t get your hopes up by promising to post more often, because I don’t like to make promises that I probably can’t keep! I am grateful to each of you for stopping by and hanging in there with me during the posting droughts.

My Copic coloring journal, all bound and ready to go:

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I cut some Neenah Solar White card stock sheets in half, covered some lightweight chipboard and used my ProClick to punch the holes for binding. Wow, the price sure has gone up! I have had mine for about 5 years and it wasn’t nearly that much. I do love spiral bound journals and notebooks, and it’s nice to be able to make my own. If you have a Bind It All or a Cinch, you can do the same thing. This is what I have, so that’s what I used.

Here are some of the Copic coloring blogs that I like best:

Linda Heavens

Paperfections – Sharon Harnist

Debbie Olson

The Creative Closet by Cindy Lawrence

Distinctive Touches

Make It Crafty

Those are just a few of my favorites. There are links on each of these blogs to other blogs – don’t get lost too long wandering around. Get out your markers and practice a little – have some fun. Bookmark the blogs, or subscribe, and come back to them later. Check out my Coloring Tips board on Pinterest for more inspiration. Happy coloring!

Happy New Year to you, and please feel free to leave a comment with one of your resolutions, or just say hello.